Technology

Is T. Rowe Price Retirement Balanced (TRRIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Allocation Balanced fund seekers should not consider taking a look at T. Rowe Price Retirement Balanced (TRRIX) at this time. TRRIX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

The world of Zacks' Allocation Balanced funds is an area filled with options, such as TRRIX. These funds like to invest in a variety of asset types, finding a balance between stocks, bonds, cash, and sometimes even precious metals and commodities; they are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. For investors, Allocation Balanced funds can provide an entry point into diversified mutual funds, and present core holding options for a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of TRRIX. T. Rowe Price Retirement Balanced debuted in September of 2002. Since then, TRRIX has accumulated assets of about $1.88 billion, according to the most recently available information. Jerome A. Clark is the fund's current manager and has held that role since September of 2002.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 3.41%, and is in the middle third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 4.75%, which places it in the bottom third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. TRRIX's standard deviation over the past three years is 4.75% compared to the category average of 8.24%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 5.01% compared to the category average of 8.64%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors cannot discount the risks to this segment though, as it is always important to remember the downside for any potential investment. In the most recent bear market, TRRIX lost 26.38% and outperformed its peer group by 9.99%. This could mean that the fund is a better choice than comparable funds during a bear market.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.39, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less volatile than the market at large. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -0.92. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, TRRIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.50% compared to the category average of 0.89%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, TRRIX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors should also note that the minimum initial investment for the product is $2,500 and that each subsequent investment needs to be at $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Retirement Balanced ( TRRIX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees compared to its peers.

For additional information on the Allocation Balanced area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into TRRIX too for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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